Malory Towers – The Passenger Shed – Bristol Old Vic REVIEW
Audience sat dripping in sweat in Bristol’s Passenger Shed which was once used as part of the joining station Temple Meads, but not even a stuffy makeshift theatre on one of the hottest days on record could stifle the glee created by this joyous production
After Emma Rice’s massively successful debut production of the Wise Children by her theatre company (by the same name), Rice has taken on a new and very different challenge of bringing back the well loved Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers novels.
Ex-Shakespeare Globe artistic director Emma Rice has taken plot points from all the 1940s books and brings them vividly to life teamed with well loved catchy tunes and original songs.
Despite being enjoyed by many an adult, the show is appropriate for any age and recommended for aged 8 and above and features some brilliant and empowering messages for young women.
The seven independent children in Malory Towers grow to become young women and learn how to lean on each other. Bullies were battled and friendships flourished all whilst going through a rigorous timetable of double Spanish and maths.
From the off the spoilt Gwendoline Lacey played by Rebecca Collingwood was insufferably wonderful. Shy and mousy Mary Lou Atkinson played by Rose Shaloo was equally brilliant in a very different way.
Francesca Mills as Sally Hope was fab in the first half but really came into her own in the second half with her spot on perfect boarding-school-girl mannerisms. She creates the majority of the laughs with her comedic timing and bossy ways.
Along with these three, the other four members are by no means inferior. All are strong singers and dancers, which is always satisfying to see.
Rice’s bold and dynamic ideas have flown once more. She never fails to stand out from the crowd and create a lasting impact on her audience. The second production from a company can be a tricky one but Rice has executed it perfectly and it gives me confidence that there will be more brilliant stuff to come from her as Wise Children grows.